Posted in DEVELOPMENT, ESSAYS AND LITERARY JOURNEYS, LIFE

BIAFRA AND THE REST OF US by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

There is an eagerness for everyone to say something about Biafra, to blame somebody for the chaos that is about to unfold if care is not taken. This is not the time to say that IPOB had it coming. The issue here is that human lives are being wasted.
First, the killing of Biafran agitators by armed soldiers and the inhumane treatment soldiers have been metting out on Nigerians for decades now is not justifiable under the law and must be condemned for what it is – a gross abuse of the fundamental human right to life and human dignity. At the same time, the hounding of Northerners and other ethnicities in the Southeast, to be murdered in cold blood in the name of retalition by Biafran agitators should also be condemned in the strongest terms. These acts could lead to a cancerous spread of retaliatory violence in other parts of the country and in that case, no one will be safe. The anxiety in Jos should serve as a resounding alarm.
One would think that the lessons of history should serve to remind us that violence either by the authorities or by the civilian populace has never resulted in any meaningful accomplishment. The civil war and more recently the Boko Haram insurgency as well as the Zaria massacre should be enduring lessons for us.
But unfortunately, it would seem we are too anxious to repeat the same mistakes, perhaps on an even grander scale.
Since we are not savages, and I strongly believe we are not, both the government and the citizens must follow laid down laws to pursue their objectives, hence:
1. All acts of violence by all parties in all parts of the country must stop at once. We simply cannot have our soldiers turning their guns on us at the slightest provocation, neither should we take laws into our hands.
2. All those, soldiers and civilians, who are found culpable in killing or maiming persons or destroying property or otherwise causing a breach of the law must be subjected to the laws of the country. Peace can only be sustained by justice and fairness.
3. We must recognise that not every Igbo person subscribes to Nnamdi Kanu’s suicidal ideology the same way that not every non-Igbo hates the Igbo and should therefore avoid generalization and stereotyping people as well as spreading hate.
4. That if some people no longer wish to be part of the country they should be allowed to pursue this within the framework of the law. If the constitution does not recognise a referendum then IPOB, which I understand has the ears of some senators and political leaders from the Southeast, should push for it through constitutional means (via the National Assembly) and if this succeeds, a referendum could be conducted within the framework of the law. But until that is done, the Nigerian constitution maintains that the country remains indivisible and the president is sworn to defend the constitution and the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
5. IPOB must recognize that forming a parallel government with a “Biafran Secret Service” is a treasonable offense as well as Mr. Kanu’s hate speech and calls to “burn down Nigeria.” Regardless, there are lawful ways of dealing with this issue. If a court of law believes that Mr. Kanu has violated his bail conditions and issues a warrant, he should be re-arrested lawfully and prosecuted. And the last time I checked, these is not the duty of armed soldiers.
6. Muhammdu Buhari is the duly elected president of the country. He is human and admittedly could have handled this issue with more tact through considerate words and actions (that 5 percent talk was a grave error of judgment). And Igbo leaders as well could have played a bigger role in curbing Kanu’s excesses. This is the time for leaders, not rulers, to step forward and appeal for calm, for anxious gladiators to sheath their swords and for reason to prevail. That which hate cooks will always leave a lasting bitter aftertaste.
The sanctity of human lives must be prevalent in our minds at all times. Overhead, the vultures of doom are circulating and for the young ones eager for action, remember what is said: when surrounded by vultures, try not to die.
May reason and peace prevail.

 

 

Abubakar Adam Ibrahim is a multiple award winning writer and journalist who lives in Abuja.

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Posted in POETRY FROM THE WORLD, POL TALKS, Uncategorized

Pity The Nation – Kahlil Gibran

Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero,
and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.

Pity a nation that despises a passion in its dream,
yet submits in its awakening.

Pity the nation that raises not its voice
save when it walks in a funeral,hqdefault
boasts not except among its ruins,
and will rebel not save when its neck is laid
between the sword and the block.

Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox,
whose philosopher is a juggler,
and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking.

Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting,
and farewells him with hooting,
only to welcome another with trumpeting again.

 

 

…..

About Kahlil Gibrain
ps_khalil_gibran

Kahlil Gibrain (1883-1931) is one of the world’s most popular and best selling poets of all times. He was a Lebanese-American poet, philosopher, artist and writer. His writings are deeply prophetic (he actually has a book titled The Prophet 🙂 ) and deep. Google his poetry and if you get the opportunity, buy and/or read his books. His words are transforming if you let them sink. Now, let’s end this with a quote from him:

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

Posted in INSPIRATION, LIFE

SINGING AGAINST THIS SONG OF WRONG by Su’eddie Vershima Agema

I never knew how much I love Nigeria, my country. More and more, I feel it in my soul. The beauty of the several people that come together to form this great entity. I know how much we have lost because I have lived my fair share of three decades in this great place, seeing giants fall, watching establishments lose the essence of that which once lifted them high. Still, I have seen new growth in organisations and people too! Realities we thought would never fade have withered to dust but again, dreams we never dared imagine have become nature.

As time comes again, in this season where disbelief becomes the lot of many a person; when darkness is seen in the clouds of despair occasioned by an economic recession and a confusion that we cannot understand… When peace comes in snatches amid news from diverse parts, from the North-East to the South-South and the middle that belts us in sorrow… When grazers turn terminators and leaders turn raiders of our loot…

There is much to do, so much to do. We have to raise our spirits and fight with every fibre of our strength to keep our sanity, for behind dark clouds lie the sun – waiting to shine again, when you wait. There is the glory of wealth that will be ours again when confusion’s fog lifts and we play our parts. Silence is golden; but what use is gold to the dead? Speak against everything wrong and contribute in every way.

Look around you, there is a song, we need not add to its wrong. Let us chime our tune. You can start by signing at http://bribecode.org or you could simply write against all evils and fight against everything that kills us, support everything that builds the beauty in this land of ours.

Peace.

All for Nigeria

Song for the moment: Great Nation by Timi Dakolo.

Posted in BIRTHDAY POEMS, NAIJA POETRY, POETRY

THE FIRST OF MANY LOVE NOTES (A POEM) by Sefa Renee Charles-Ayede

You’ve raised countless armies and helped mould empires out of individuals
You’ve fed everyone whom you backed, like the Queens you’ve raised have done with princes
You’ve fed not alone those who are biologically yours
You don’t see the difference between man and beast
As long as they are a part of nature’s limited yet sufficient circle
You’d show them as much love
In fact a great amount, if we could quantify love

My ancestors and the ancestors of many travailed far and wide looking for a space of their own
You opened your arms and your heart to as many people who sought a place to call home
Your heart is one that doesn’t see black or white, the rainbow is limited compared to how

                           colourful and warm your heart is
You’re more than just lands, rivers and mountains
There’s so much to you than the jewellery you’ve been divinely adorned with

It is futile using mere words to describe your beauty
Every angle only magnifies the limitlessness of your splendour
Mother of nations, wife to none
Daughter of a great father, yes you are his heart

Five decades is not how long you’ve existed
You always been since the Genesis
You’re relentless, like light it’s difficult to hide you
Again, these words fail woefully
How do you actually define GREAT without falling short of its ….?

A child can only boast of a woman he sees wonderful enough to be called Mother
A soldier can only lay his life for a land he sees worth dying for
The quality of a surname is dependent on the one who starts it

For the grounds that raised me, I ask that you only grow more fertile and stronger
I’ll take my time to walk, stop and pay tribute to YOU

A soldier can only lay his life for a land he sees worth dying for …
                 
       N    I   G   E   R   I    A 
….
Sefa Renee Charles-Ayede is a Nigerian poet based in Malaysia.
Posted in POETRY, POETRY FROM THE WORLD

LOST (In Mad Blues)

(For those who love without ceasing individually and an ailing nation)

He sighs…

The dizzying crisscross of her steps
no longer stir his passion
much like her physical fashion
her flowing hair long gone wild
glistens no more. He is beguiled
and cheated as he sees her in reality a lady of sorts
different from what he sees– much in his beautiful thoughts.
His cardiac mosaic bears a different face
of a lady in a far different place…

‘Love, come back’ he calls
as the several tears rush in falls.
He would do what he can to get her at any cost
But he’s lost
Much as she is, lost
Lost and cursed.
madder in love
as she to whom is madder in worth
crushed for he lost her to one more powerful –
who can withstand nature’s will?

His thoughts bring memories of treasured songs
lovely tunes grooving without thoughts of any wrongs.
He comes back to the speed of the present
and he wonders where all that great beauty went.
As the naked woman gives pursuit his mind goes back
– not to the wild woman ready to attack
but the lady hiding within the many tangled fold
clutched in the talon of craziness’ hold.
He thinks of the lady, the one he swore to love…
His tear bank breaks. That lady within he realizes, would he forever love.

 

– Su’eddie Vershima Agema

 

 

 

 

(Thanks to Sibbyl Whyte whose poem helped me in thinking and much more that led to the inspiration behind this poem)

Posted in LIFE, LITERARY MISSIONARY

CHINUA ACHEBE: Something of thoughts (A Tribute) by Su’eddie Vershima Agema

Chinua Achebe (1930-2013-In our hearts)
Chinua Achebe (1930-2013-In our hearts)

 

There’s little that can be said about Chinua Achebe that has not been said. Little to know about him that even the most ignorant of us has not caught in the last one month and so days. From the greatest of orators and the very best of writers to unheard names, common people and just about almost anyone with a voice from around, the Achebian fever has gone on and on and now, whatever else we say might simply be a cliché. Still, the combined claps of a town must not stop anyone person from putting their palms together for if every one was to do so, wouldn’t there be a conquering silence?

The best way to talk of him – Achebe – then is not to simply say what everybody knows but simply bring out of our goatskin bag of wisdom to give our personal tributes to the worthy man. In this history, we shall stick to his writings, mainly so that we don’t get to go on and on and on. For indeed, if we were to tell the whole story of the man, Chinua Achebe, not even all the books in this world would contain it. And this, we all know.

Chinualumogu Albert Achebe was born on the 16th of November, 1930 in Ogidi, present day Anambra state. We shall call him Chinua. Not in disrespect to this father of ours, and towering legend who lives on in our heart but because in his ways, he was too personal, too much of our friend and brother to be addressed in any formal title that robs of that familiarity that he in his numerous works endeared to our hearts.

Chinua was born at the near infant days of Christianity in his land. His father, Isaiah, was himself an Anglican Catechist. In his life though, it would be the traditions of his people, and the quest to tell their story that would burn a firmer passion in Chinua’s life.

He entered St. Philips’ Central School where he had his first primary education. When he was 12, Chinua moved to Nekede and enrolled at the Central School where his elder brother, John taught. In 1944, he wrote exams and on getting the choice of two schools after a sterling result, he chose Government College, Umuahia. That paved the way for meetings and a tradition that fixed him with the likes of Christopher Okigbo, Chukwuemeka Ike, Elechi Amadi, INC Aniebo, Ken Saro-wiwa, Gabriel Okara, Obi Nwakanma, Alexander Madiebo to mention but a few of the towering novelists and poets that wore uniform robes in that prestigious institute.

Chinua moved from Government College, Umuahia to the University College, Ibadan, famous for its strong English faculty that included J. P. Clark, Christopher Okigbo, Wole Soyinka and Elechi Amadi. He got a scholarship to study Medicine but after a year, forfeited his scholarship to study English, History and Theology. After his final examinations, Chinua earned a second-class degree in 1953. This set him back a bit as he weighed options after not having received the highest degree possible.

There’s a whole lot more that we can put in between that history and all but perhaps we should jump to a defining point in history, 1958, the year of the publication of Things Fall Apart. The book was not the first African work of literature as a steady literature for Africa was already thriving written by mainly whites (Joseph Conrad being the main voice). There were other Africans – even Nigerians – who had published before 1958 too. There was Cyprian Ekwensi and Amos Tutuola to mention two prominent examples. Things Fall Apart changed the thinking of the world on Africa, its literature and its people. Now, Chinua wrote other books that continued the trend of changing views on Africa and its writers – No Longer at Ease. There was also Arrow of God (and can you forget Ezeulu, the man striding between the gods and man)? A Man of the People came out in 1966. While people abroad hailed Chinua Achebe for being a prophet, he was accused of having an idea of the coup plot that happened a few days after its publication.

Let us skip for a few seconds to the Nigerian civil war where Chinua played a prominent role. 1967 – 1970 and arguably not less than a million lives lost. That war defined the lives of many Igbos and was a turning point in the life of our nation, Nigeria. Somehow, life continued.

Chinua Achebe published The Trouble with Nigeria in 1983, himself actively involved in politics then. He wrote Anthills of the Savannah in 1987, a critique of Kangan, a country near resembling Nigeria. I might add that it is a solid post-colonial text which I had the honour of investigating in the same light during my undergraduate days in the comfortable companionship of my friend, Andrew Bula, Joshua Agbo (who was in Linguistics charting different roads), Terna Ortese and Dr. Andrew Aba, my supervisor, who himself did his PhD thesis on the works of Chinua Achebe. I can mention inspiration from Ezenwa-Ohaeto, Hyginus Ekwuazi, Eugenia Abu and many others but that would be to put my name where it should least come out. I can only say here that a bond grew from this work here, Chinua creating links where they never might have been.

In 1981, he started the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and was the first President. This wasn’t the first writing body started in the country but it is the strongest today and the body under which we are gathered today, as at other moments, to share the beauty of the comradeship of the ink of our thoughts devoid of grade, gender, heights and the like. Devoid of these but not condescending in any way. Chinua was also at the headship of many Pan-African, Pro-Black, Pro Afro-American progression, movements, writers and the rest.

In October 2012, Chinua published There was a country to critical rave reviews. It has remained a controversial book to this day. In between all these publications, there are many other lectures, critical works, interviews, awards, Doctorate, Honourary and traditional titles that this towering Iroko of the world garnered. The Eagle, Chinua, finally took his flight to ancestral domes on March 22nd, 2013 after a fulfilling but not so fulfilled life as some might argue. He was an inspiration to many and a close friend.

He was married to Christie (nee Okoli), a marriage blessed with four children: Chinelo, Ikechukwu, Chidi, Nwando and grandchildren. Of the literary children, one can hardly say more.

I have left so much out but what more can one write when consigned to write the history of a man whose story is far richer than several lives put together? What do we say of a man’s story whose story is our collective story? Do we talk about the patriot, the writer, the activist, the ambassador, the teacher, the human, the family man, the friend, the enemy, the ancestor or the living one, the legacies? Do we talk of the decoloniosation? Of the lone voice calling many? Do we talk of the humility? Every leaf of this iroko is a tale and who dares to tell the tale of every leaf of one of the greatest trees known not just to our parts but the entire world?

It is left to say, as I have mentioned severally, that one who lives on in our heart more firmly than those whose breath still flow through the nostrils, is that one really dead? So as the others claim a mourning, we delight in a celebration of Chinua and welcome us all as we reflect in thoughtful, casual, or just personal tributes to him for whom most of us can boldly say: ‘We know where the rain beat our ancestors and so can tell our tale.’ May he live on in our hearts, our thoughts and our nation.

 

*Su’eddie Vershima Agema is the Vice Chairman, Association of Nigerian Authors (Benue State Chapter)

At the Benue ANA ‘Evening of Tributes to a Literary Genius’ held at the Benue State University, Makurdi on 2nd May, 2013

Chinua Achebe (1930-2013 and on in our hearts)
Chinua Achebe (1930-2013 and on in our hearts)
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Posted in LITERARY MISSIONARY, NAIJA POETRY, POETRY

Chinua Achebe: Death, Where Are Thy Claws? – Niyi Osundare

Chinua Achebe (1930-2013 and on in our hearts)
Chinua Achebe (1930-2013 and on in our hearts)

 

 

Chinua Achebe is one of those epically unique individuals whose lives have been so full, so purposive and so impactful that we begin to pray that they will never die. But who doesn’t know that that is mere wishful thinking? To be sure, the Eagle on Iroko didn’t die young, but he left when we still need him urgently and acutely. He has gone, but he left so much of, by, himself behind…

 

Achebe shook up the literary world with Things Fall Apart when he was barely in his late twenties. He told Africa‘s story and gave humanity a song. Since that day in 1958 when that epochal novel intruded upon the world to this very day, hardly any week has passed without the author’s name being mentioned somewhere in this world of books and ideas.

 

But if the sheer force and range of Achebe’s fiction gave Africa a voice, the fearless truth of his critical interventions challenged so many myths and deliberate falsehoods about the most misrepresented and recklessly abused continent in the world. Achebe knew, and he tried to get us to know, that  Africans will remain mere objects of the stories told by others, until they, Africans,  have started to tell their own story their own way – without shutting out the rest of the world. Achebe challenged the 20th century philosophy of fiction as a pretty object d’art, arriving with works which foregrounded the human condition and told the wondering world that the clotheless Emperor was, indeed, naked! He entered a plea for the urgent necessity of an entity called ‘applied art‘ and emboldened us to look triumphalist Formalism in the face and demand to see its passport. Yes, Achebe told a world sold to the art-for-art’s-sake mystique that it is, indeed, possible to be an accomplished novelist who is also a teacher.

 

Controversy hardly ever parts company with a writer and thinker of his brand. He took almost as much criticism as he gave; for he was a man who never ran from a fight.

 

The world celebrates the LIFE of this distinguished story-teller and thinker. (Yes, celebrate, for to mourn is to concede supremacy to Death – and Oblivion, its Mephistophelean factotum).

 

Rest well, Chinualomogu. Rest well, Obierika, the man who thought about things. Posterity will never let you die. We regret your passing. We celebrate your Life.

 

Niyi Osundare

New Orleans, March 22, 2013.

 

 

 

Professor Niyi Osundare is one of Nigeria’s leading contemporary poets and social crusaders. He lives in New Orleans.

Posted in NAIJA POETRY, POETRY, POETRY FROM THE WORLD

STUBBORN SOUL (A POEM) by Kator Hule

(for Chinua Achebe)
You Stubborn Soul
Saturate with thoughts they hated
You who littered stubborn words in our hard hearts
Words too stubborn to die
Too stubborn to be forgotten
You literary glitterati
Die!

The grief that strides
Like a bullet through Biafra forests during the war, you pierced
Too stubborn, you refused to die
Oh, you stubborn soul

Hei…
In death you refuse to die
You this man who so encapsulated the African experience
In my heart you always stubbornly live
Until like you I stubbornly live
Achebe, oh, my Achebe
Now that your words live
I know you will never die!

 

 

ACHEBE
Chinua Achebe (1930-2013 and on in our hearts)

 

 

Kator Hule is a poet and fiction writer. He lives in Makurdi, Benue State Nigeria where he works and also writes from.

Posted in LITERARY MISSIONARY

EASTER BONANZA by Akumbu Uche

  • Hey guys!

If you’re interested in poetry, names and African culture, you’ll probably like my interview with poet, Dike Chukwumerije, out today, in the recent issue of Saraba Magazine (Available for free download here)

And if you like freebies and giveaways, you’ll be interested to know that I’ll be giving away 2 autographed copies of his poetry collection, Ahamefula: The Cultural Significance of Names Amongst the Ibos

Ahamefula

To participate, all you have to do is:

  • Follow this blog (Click on the ‘Yes!’ button at the top right hand corner)
  • Leave a comment on this post telling us your name, its meaning and what language it is derived from
  • Don’t forget to add your email address so that you can be contacted (This will not be published)

Entries close on Friday, 29th March after which,  two lucky winners will be randomly selected and results announced on Monday, 1st April.

***Please note that, for logistic reasons, this giveaway is limited to people  resident in Nigeria.

 

 

 

Posted in LIFE

VOTE EUGENIA ABU FOR VLISCO WOMAN OF THE MONTH 2013

Hey, there’s a vote going on with amazing women to cast for as Vlisco Woman of the month – the vote link is here

I am concerned particularly with the Nigerian category – naturally 🙂 …

Most of you would take Chimamanda [I know, right 🙂 ] or Joke Silva or Abike Dabiri or Amina Az-Azubair – for several reasons, personal or general. I respect each of them too. I cast my vote for Eugenia Abu. I did so not simply because of her remarkable achievements as broadcaster and humanist – which is true by the way – but because she’s one of the most amazing women I’ve come to know from afar and close. In addition to all her charity, charm and amazing love for children plus the less privileged, she’s a committed mentor and positive thinker who believes in people, a lot. Trust me, I know. Do cast a vote for her too, PLEASE. She truly is a woman deserving.

Eugenia Abu with children by Su'eddie Agema

I wrote a piece on Eugenia Abu you might want to look at here .

 

So, cast your votes for Mrs. Eugenia Abu and let’s celebrate an all encompassing beauty! YES, SHARE much as you can!!

Oh! Once more, the link to the Nigerian nominees can be found here or copy and paste http://beyourdream.vlisco.com/en/nigeria/nominees

 E.J from Su'eddie Agema(Eugenia Abu)